What I Wish I’d Had

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the baby stuff out there. The absolute must-haves are generally pretty obvious. But what about the things just beyond that?

I recently came across a list I made a few months ago of baby essentials I wish I’d had from the start or soon after, as a reminder to myself for next time. I’m sharing it here to save other mama’s the trouble.

  1. Exercise Ball – for bouncing baby to sleep. Fox preferred bouncing over the rocking chair. I used to walk back and forth from one end of our apartment to the other, bouncing, shhhing, and singing him to sleep. Bouncing on a ball is more comfortable and less work, especially with a bigger baby or toddler. We still bounce to sleep most nights and naps at 17 months. Our exercise ball even comes with us when we stay at Grandma’s.
  2. White Noise Machine – to help baby fall asleep and stay asleep. I thought the app on my phone would’ve good enough, and it worked in a pinch, but a separate white noise machine has been a staple for us. The phone app would cut off if someone called. Plus, if I used my phone while he was sleeping on me that so… Drowning out sounds, like the dog barking, that might otherwise wake him up.  Ours also shines stars and a moon up onto the ceiling, so there’s the added bonus of a cute night light.  Fox loves to point up to the ceiling and talk about the stars.
  3. Pillow for Back Lying – Co-sleeping for us meant sleeping on my back with Fox in the crook of my arm, usually latched on. Before being pregnant I’d been a stomach sleeper, so this was a bit of an adjustment for me. Exhaustion beyond belief helped me get used to sleeping on my back, but it was still tricky. For a while I’d use two extra pillows on either side of my head to keep from straining my neck and back. It required frequent adjustments, trying to keep from waking my sleeping baby while attempting to get comfortable myself. When I finally got a pillow meant for back sleepers it not only helped me fall asleep faster, but so much strain and pain was alleviated along with the hassle of getting three pillows just right all the time.
  4. Coconut Oil – The first time Fox had thrush we took him to the doctor and filled a prescription. Treatment involved multiple doses per day combined with spot treatments with a q-tip. It was heartbreak, 4 times a day. I was seeing a WIC peer counselor for breastfeeding help just after noticing another white spot on his lip. Luckily I happened to mention it to her, along with how I dreaded having to give him more medicine. She recommended I try coconut oil, as a spot treatment for him, on myself and even once the symptoms were gone, to keep it from coming back. It worked! The thrush went away without medicine and it never came back! Coconut oil also helped with his cradle cap. I’d simply rub it on his scalp a little bit before giving him a bath and just wash it off when I washed his hair. Slowly but surely his cradle cap went away.
  5. Water Bottle with Straw – Wish I’d had one of these in my early pumping days. I was so very thirsty while pumping, but both my hands were occupied. My mom put a straw in my old water bottle, but it was too short and kept falling in. This type of water bottle also makes it so much easier to get a drink while co-sleeping, when I’m unable to sit up, and without the sound of opening and closing a lid like my previous water bottle.
  6. Button-less Cardigans – Without sashes or ties of any kind. I had a couple, but wish I’d had more from the start. They’re snuggly, without buttons or zippers against your baby or in the way when they want to nurse NOW. Plus, with all the split up and leaks leading to impromptu wardrobe changes, it’s nice to have extras on hand.
  7. Teething Tablets – I’m super grateful to the friends who recommended these to me. Tiny tablets dissolve quickly in baby’s mouth, easing the pain on those extra fussy days.
  8. Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces – I wish I’d had one to wear starting during pregnancy and one for Fox when he started teething around 3 months. I was skeptical at first, but I had been giving Fox teething tablets 3 to 4 times a day during rough teething days and since he started wearing his necklace I’ve only had to give them to him once or twice on a bad day. (The rough days are also much less often, even now with molars coming in). Since babies and toddlers don’t know about the placebo effect, I’d say they work.
  9. Nursing Necklaces – Right away I knew I wasn’t going to be able to wear most of my necklaces for a while. But I still wanted to wear necklaces that fit my style while being safe for my baby’s mouth and tiny hands. Nursing necklaces are wonderful for use while breastfeeding and babywearing! They provide visual stimulation for baby and encourage fine motor skills, giving them something pretty to play with while nursing, being worn, or just snuggling. Plus they’re so cute I’d wear them even without my baby.
  10. Ring Sling – I wish I’d started babywearing sooner and more often around the house. I had a borrowed ring sling, but its’ padding kept me from being able to tighten it enough. Fox wasn’t big enough for the Ergo without an infant insert, (which probably would’ve been too hot anyway), and the Moby I had got too hot. I needed a basic ring sling, but didn’t know it until much later.

I’m grateful though, because by wading through this sea of baby stuff I learned a lot about what I needed and what I didn’t. I hope that by sharing I can make life a little easier for other mommies out there.

Was there anything you wished you’d had sooner or couldn’t imagine going without?

All in the Balance

Chugging along like the little engine that could, I’ve been slowly, but surely making progress. Getting more necklaces up in the shop. Sewing diaper bags. Drafting future blog posts. Brainstorming craft fair booth ideas and making lists.

I considered accepting an invitation to display my necklaces at RAW in Indianapolis, but decided against it. Although it sounded like a great opportunity at first, ultimately it didn’t seem like the right audience. Plus having to sell twenty $15 tickets or pay the difference seemed like it would take too much away from time spent creating. Got me thinking about future craft fair possibilities anyway.

 

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Fox and Russ have been super sweet, playing while I sew. I love listening to them. The other night Russ helped Fox draw in his little notebook, delighted by how he expertly held the pen in his tiny hand. Each time he finished a drawing, he’d walk over and hand me the most adorable sheet of scribble I’d ever seen in my life. Oh my heart!

While Russ was at work, Fox helped me sort some craft supplies and gather materials, finding spools of thread and odds-n-ends to play with along the way. We take breaks to play, read, snuggle, and walk Cora.

Balancing productivity with family time is super important to me. They’re a huge part of why I’m doing all this anyway. Russ and I have been trying to do something outside as a family each weekend. We took Fox to the park, where he got to swing and go down a slide for the first time. And we went to the county fair, where he got to see cows and pet an adorable little calf.

 

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Fox is growing so fast. I love simply watching him. Every day he’s more and more toddler/little boy, surprising me with new things he says and does. With the way he does them.

We don’t watch a lot of TV, but we enjoy some Miyazaki movies. The other morning I asked him if he wanted to watch Kiki, Totoro, or Castle and he nodded, “Toto”. Last night we played an adorably funny combination of hide-n-seek, tag, and peekaboo. When I’d say I was coming to get him he’d shake his head and matter-of-factually say ‘no’. So much fun!

 

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During nap times lately I’ve been reading books on my Kindle app. Enjoying a little escapism in my downtime. I like that I can hold it in one hand while Fox sleeps on me and that it has the option of white letters on a black page, so the brightness doesn’t wake him up.

I read the first book in the Dragonlance Chronicles. Leading to some fun conversations with Russ, who read them years ago but still has an uncanny memory of characters, locations, and plot. It also makes me wish I had time to run one of the d&d campaign modules.

I finally got around to reading Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without me (And Other Concerns) which has been on my ‘to read’ list since it was released three years ago. (Like I wasn’t busy adjusting to a new town, being pregnant and caring for a baby). Anyway, it’s tiding me over between seasons of The Mindy Project. I absolutely adore her wit! She’s flipping hilarious!

Have you read any good books lately?